When the news was made official, you would have thought the zombie apocalypse was upon us. People had no idea what to think. It was as if they had just witnessed a loved one getting munched on like lunch.
The results are in: the selection of Vance Joseph is an unmitigated disaster. The common theme was that this decision will set the Denver Broncos back ... anywhere from three to five years. There’s no hope. In fact, all hope is lost.
Thus, the Broncos Apocalypse has arrived.
At least fans are consistent and remain reactionary. Remember when John Elway signed Peyton Manning and the vast majority of Mile High Report members wanted to keep Tim Tebow?
When the candidates were released, the name that intrigued me most was Joseph. Yes, because I think he’s in the mold of Mike Tomlin when he was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers. And it’s not just because of how young both are and the fact they were longtime defensive backs coaches and one-year defensive coordinators. It’s because of their personality and how they demand your presence with how they speak and their body language. With how they lead.
When you watch both Joseph and Tomlin, when you listen to them, you feel they have it. They have what it takes to make you stop in your tracks and pay attention. Watch the interview Joseph did with Broncos TV and you see why so many people call him a “leader of men.” Above the Xs and Os, that’s what’s most important. How a coach manages a staff and players, communicates and leads. It’s one thing to know football like the back of your hand. It’s another to be a leader. The great ones do both.
Here’s another way to look at it: The head coach is a CEO. The tools listed above are the most crucial. There are different ways to go about that, and each individual is different. But management, judgment, communication and leadership is the foundation.
“Vance has been in preparation for this opportunity for many years,” former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak told the Broncos. “He is a leader of men who gets the most out of his players. V.J. is demanding yet passionate in his relationship with them. He is a tremendous addition to the Bronco family. I am so proud of him. His future and the future of the Denver Broncos is very bright. I congratulate V.J., and it’s well deserved.”
Joseph also is a shrewd evaluator of talent. He knows what he wants but also how to get it out of his players. The players also know he’ll put them in the best possible situation to have success. Joseph has huge expectations — for the players, his staff and himself. And you best meet those expectations.
Vance Joseph is considered a top notch talent evaluator and very honest guy by everyone he's worked with. #Broncos got a great person.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) January 11, 2017
“He’s done a great job with our players,” Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. “I can speak for that first hand. He took so much off my plate where I never had to worry about anything with the defense. He really did a great job with all those guys in that room. Once he was hired, I knew that side of the ball was good to go and I was able to focus on what I needed to with the offense. He has a strong personality and he demands a lot from players and they give him everything they have, which is a testament to his ability as a leader.”
The other aspect that shines about Joseph is how much he’s respected and liked. Not a single person who’s worked with him has anything negative to say about him. That speaks to Joseph’s character and how he treats people. Add in his knowledge, preparation and attention to detail, and no wonder Elway and the Broncos made Joseph their head coach.
“I think I learned a lot from him, just in regards to how he views putting the defensive line and the back seven together, and the front seven and the back four together,” Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. “I think he’s an excellent coach. They are getting an elite guy that understands defense and understands how things work together, and working with a lot of different pieces and puzzles. We probably had a new lineup every single week this past season, and he’s a guy that knows how to adjust and adapt.
“I think he’s going to be an excellent head coach, in my personal opinion. Obviously he’s a great people person and he’s great at dealing with a lot of different personalities. I had a great relationship with him and look forward to continuing that relationship with him. There is no question that those players are going to definitely be happy with the way that he runs things and with the way he likes things set up. I’ve gotten to see him in action at all levels over these past 12 months.”
Added Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell: “V.J. brought great leadership and taught us the intangibles of being a leader, what all of that entails and how you have to bring it every day with the guys looking at you. His leadership qualities will make him a good head coach. He knows how to talk to you. He knows how to communicate to guys in the generation. He’s a leader of men and he understands that.”
Joseph is the right man for this job.
Could not agree more. Not about Xs & Os. It comes down to communication, leadership & management. Let your coordinators shine. https://t.co/gynZkDDCMk— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) January 11, 2017
He’s not coming to Denver to lead the defense. Or fix the offense. He’s coming to lead the Broncos back to a Super Bowl, however that has to happen. That’s the task of a head coach. Joseph had the answers for the direction of the Broncos offense (that means no Trevor Siemian) and what he would do on defense.
The biggest factor of all? Joseph embraced the expectations that come with this job. The two guys prior to Kubiak did not, and this job ate them alive. Joseph is already off to a great start. He knows what to expect and yet he still embraced that.
“When you sit in staff meetings and in game plan meetings and his ability to interject and have an opinion on things - a well thought of and researched opinion - I think there’s no question in my mind that he has the ability to lead the room and lead men and get them pointed in the right direction and take those steps to be a head coach,” Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said.
Added Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph: “I'm extremely excited for him and proud of him. One of the guys that definitely helped me out in my career and brought me on board here. I'm sure he'll do a great job there, deserving of it. I'm proud of him.”
Over time, people will come to accept this decision. Some may even like it. Just as they did when Manning came to town and it brought an end to Tebowmania.
“Vance Joseph gets it. There’s a reason people say he’s a players' coach. People respect him because he gets it,” former Colorado and NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart told USA TODAY Sports.
“For John Elway to give him a chance, it’s not because he’s a Colorado guy. It’s because he gets it. I get chills talking about it because I know him personally. I love the experience and opportunity he’s getting to extend his range as a coach. He’s a good man, a quality dude.”